The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 40, October 1, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Donn Pearlman, Tom Hawkins, Eric
and Alan (no last names given), Alexander Jaramillo and Lora Robins.
Several new subscribers have come our way courtesy of recommendations
on the PCGS forums.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 977 subscribers.

Roger deWardt Lane writes: "Your latest E-Sylum was most interesting.
Keep up the great job."

W. David Perkins writes: "Great E-Sylum issue!"

Bob Rightmire writes: "I've been wading through the past issues of
E-Sylum; it is a phenomenal resource.  Your contribution deserves
a bravo!"

John Regitko, Editor of the Canadian Numismatic Association
E-Bulletin writes: "You outdid yourself on last week's bulletin!
I think that most people don't appreciate the amount of time it
takes you each week to put together The E-Sylum, especially one
that long!"

I have fun doing this or I wouldn't keep it up, but it's always
nice to get feedback.  Thanks, everyone!  Thanks also to the
subscriber who posted a recommendation on PCGS.  We get all of
our subscribers this way: one at a time, through word-of-mouth
(and keyboard).

Since we've had so many new subscribers in recent weeks, I'd like
to say a few words about what The E-Sylum is all about.  Well, it's
hard to pin down since our topics are so broad, but basically, our
readership includes people interested in numismatic literature,
research and writing in all areas.  "Just plain collectors" are
welcome too - all it takes is a curious mind and wide interests.

Within a single issue we can cover topics all over the numismatic
map, and most readers find several items of interest in each issue.
Something doesn't catch your fancy?  - just skip to the next one.
But we know many people who devour every single article.

The strength of The E-Sylum lies in its readership - it's like a
weekly cocktail party with some of the most knowledgeable numismatic
folks around, and not just from the U.S. - our subscribers hail
from all parts of the globe.

Got a question?  Ask away - our readers have been known to provide
definitive, documented answers to the most obscure numismatic
questions, from "Why are coins round?" to "What was the penalty
for counterfeiting in colonial New Jersey?"

This week's issue has just one book review, but by coincidence
the issue has TWO references to the legendary Palace Collections
of Egypt (Farouk) sale.  Interestingly, both references are to coins
so rare they never existed in the first place!

The power of the Internet to connect people is shown again in this
issue, where we hear from the purchaser of the Cape Cod Canal medal
discussed in earlier issues.

Also this week we learn more about Julius Guttag, read a behind-the-scenes
account of the BEP's mutilated currency recovery department, learn
how to do numismatic oral history interviews, ponder the politics
of including issues of separatist states in numismatic catalogues,
learn who was hanged in front of the U.S. Mint in New Orleans and
how to make change for a Liberty Dollar. And what does the Wookey Hole
Mill in Britain have to do with U.S. numismatics?  Read on to find out.
Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


One new book I've had the pleasure to review recently is the second
edition of Doug Winter's "Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint
1839-1909." The 237-page paperback is published by Zyrus Press
($34.95).  From the publisher's web site:  "In 1989, the first
edition of Doug Winter's book Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint:
1839-1909 was published. It popularized these under-appreciated
coins and introduced many new collectors to the field.

In the ensuing two decades, much has changed in the New Orleans
gold market. Newly discovered hoards have changed the rarity
levels of certain dates while others remain very difficult to locate."

Well, it hasn't quite been two decades since 1989, and the book
wasn't published in 1989, it was published in 1992.  Still, fourteen
years between editions is a long time.  But it's been worth the wait.
The new edition is much improved, starting with the all-new enlarged
color images of each coin.  But this new edition is more than just an
update - it is essentially a new book with completely updated
information encompassing all that has been learned about the series
in the past fourteen years.

One of the biggest changes, acknowledged by the author in his
preface, is the number of post-1880 eagles that are now known.
He writes: "Substantial quantities of these coins have been found
in Europe since 1992.  In some cases, total populations have doubled
or even tripled and I don't doubt that the numbers will continue to
rise in the coming years."

For example, I turned randomly to the entry for 1894-O Eagles and
compared it with the corresponding entry in my copy of the first
edition.  Of the original mintage (still believed to be 107,500),
the total number known is now 550-750+, whereas at the time of
the first edition only 140-160 were known.

The layout of each entry follows a common format and is very easy
to read, another great improvement over the first edition.  Mintage,
Rarity Rankings, Strike, Surfaces, Luster, Coloration, Eye Appeal,
Die Characteristics, Major Varieties, Significant Pieces Known,
Auction Record, and Total Known (with a breakdown by grade) are
listed for each coin.

To address what he felt were two major shortcomings of the first
edition, the author included research articles which in my opinion,
are worth the price of the book alone.  In his Preface, Winter writes
"[in the first book] ... there was virtually no information about
the history of the New Orleans Mint.  I am not a historian and I
felt that my contributions about this topic would be unoriginal at
best.  I commissioned Greg Lambousy, the Director of Collections of
the Louisiana State Museum, who wrote what I feel is a simply
brilliant concise history of the Mint.  Also, David Ginsberg has
written an article about how gold coins of this era circulated; a
study that will explain exactly why so many of these coins are so
rare today.

Lambousy's article draws on many of the known sources in numismatic
literature such as the 1862 Harper's New Monthly Magazine article
"Making Money" and writings by and about Mint official John Leonard
Riddell, but it also references a number of much lesser known sources.
The bibliography is quite complete to my knowledge, although I didn't
see a reference to the 1846 Merchants Magazine and Commercial Review
article by Freeman Hunt titled "United States Branch Mint at New
Orleans."  The thirteen-page article includes two pages of photos
of the interior of the New Orleans Mint and its workers, courtesy
of the Louisiana State Museum.

I have to agree with Winter that Lambousy's article is a very
valuable concise history of the Mint, and well worth reading.  There
are some great tidbits of history here, numismatic and otherwise,
such as Riddell's invention of the rotary ingot machine, and brothers
Rufus and Philos Tyler's invention and patenting of the silver dollar
counting table.  Along the way there are interesting diversions
into Riddell's conflicts with fellow workers, structural problems
of the Mint building, control of the Mint under the Confederacy,
and story of William Mumford who was hanged by Union forces in front
of the Mint of June 7th, 1862.

David Ginsberg's article is equally original, well-researched, and
interesting to read.  In addition to consulting some of my own
favorite references on this era (Carothers' "Fractional Money" and
Gibbons' "The Banks of New York, Their Dealers, The Clearing House,
and the Panic of 1857," Ginsburg uncovered a number of valuable
other sources including an 1843 publication, "The Letters of Lowndes,
Addressed to the Hon. John C. Calhoun."  The book has a priceless
account, reprinted here, of a traveler's maddeningly difficult
cross-country journey while attempting to conduct commerce with a
mishmash of different paper money issues.  Such difficulties make
it easy to understand how having gold coinage could greatly ease
the problem of traveling to distant parts of the country in those days.

On page 88 Winter reprints a delightful account by David Akers of
"Debunking the Myth of the '1841-O Half Eagle,' taken from the October
1997 Pittman  I catalog.  It's the story of John J. Pittman's 1841-C
Half Eagle, which he purchased in the Farouk sale.  The coin had earlier
been part of the Col. E.H.R. Green collection.  The New York firm Stack's
had a beautiful album of photographs of the Green Half Eagle collection
in their research library, and Walter Breen reviewed it while researching
his monograph on U.S. Half Eagles.

"Because of the shadows on the photo, the C mintmark looked like an O
to him, so Breen mistook it for an example of the legendary (but non-
existent) 1841-O."  Breen's mistake was taken as fact and carried on
through the decades while the grinning Pittman would neither confirm
nor deny the existence of the coin, saying only coyly, "It pays to
look at every lot!"  Pittman later admitted "I always knew there was
no such thing as an 1841-O Half Eagle, but I had so much fun going
along with Breen's story."

To view the publisher's page for the book, see:


Craig Eberhart writes: "I missed this summer's ANA convention and
did not have a chance to buy John Dannreuther's new book on early
gold varieties.  I had hoped to buy a leatherbound copy, but the
Whitman website seemed to go directly from listing it as "available
in September" to "no longer available".  Does anyone know what
happened to this edition or, more importantly to me, where I can
purchase a copy?"


The Museum of American Finance in New York is moving, according to
a release on the web site of R. M. Smythe: "Join us on Wednesday
October 4, 2006, at noon, when John E. Herzog will speak about the
Museum of American Finance - its history and its exciting new plans.
In 1988, Mr. Herzog founded the Museum of American Finance, which is
dedicated to the history and study of U.S. capital markets and is
also one of the Smithsonian Affiliate museums.

The Museum's mission is to preserve the artifacts, create instructive
exhibitions, and teach the important role of finance in American
history. The Museum will soon be moving to its new home, the former
Bank of New York at 48 Wall Street. This is a very good fit, as the
Bank of New York was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784 as New
York City's first bank. There are shadows of Hamilton always at hand,
and the space occupies the same ground as the original Bank, built
in 1796.

Mr. Herzog will have artists' renderings of the new space as well
as original objects from his collection. Mr. Herzog, who has collected
financial memorabilia for more than 40 years, is especially interested
in American Revolutionary bonds and other 18th century documents. He
donated part of his collection to the Museum, forming the nucleus of
its holdings."
Full Story

[Have any of our readers visited the museum's current location?
Please send us a review!  And if any of our New York readers has a
chance to attend Wednesday's briefing, please fill us in on what
you learn.  -Editor]


R. V. Dewey writes: "I am attempting to research information contained
in a book sold at the Bowers and Merena Armand Champa numismatic
literature sale: Lot# 493; Sol Kaplan's "sales room copy" of the Palace
Collections of Egypt, Sotheby's 1954. On page 162 of Sol's copy, who
does he attribute Lot# 1751 to?"

[Dave Bowers forwarded this request to The E-Sylum; he does not have
a photocopy of the catalog.  I checked my copy of the sale (from the
Dr. James O. Sloss library) and the lot 1751 description is as follows:

"1855, small one dollar, silver and brass, A.W. 194?; flying eagle
cents in nickel, copper, copper nickel, bronze, composition, bronze
with a smaller wreath, A.W. 195, 197, 199, 200, 201, 201 A.
Mostly extremely fine."

The lot is in a section of United States coins.  The lot appears
to consist of eight U.S. pattern coins - A.W. stands for Adams-Woodin,
the 1913 reference.  AW 194 is a gold dollar pattern listed as rarity
14 (2 to 3 known).  The remaining coins are Flying Eagle Cent patterns.

The later U.S. pattern references (Judd and Pollack) do not seem to
list this piece; an Adams-Woodin to Judd conversion table published
by Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine does not list a Judd equivalent for
AW 194.  I checked with pattern guru Saul Teichman who writes: "Many
of these off-metal gold pieces listed in Adams & Woodin turned out
to be fakes, which is why you could not find them in Judd."

The lot sold for $30.  The buyer of the lot?  It is listed in Sloss'
copy as "H. Schulman", but there is also a neat "X" next to the name.
Some of the other lots have a similar "X", but I don't know what it
signifies.  -Editor]

Dave Bowers adds: "Hans Schulman was owed several hundred thousand
dollars by King Farouk when the latter was ousted by the military
junta in 1952. When the coins came up for sale, Schulman pressed his
claim, and the new Egyptian government allowed Schulman an appropriate
credit to spend at the sale. As Hans did not need that many coins he
gathered bids of other dealers and collectors and bought them under
his number, giving them a slight discount in the transaction.
Accordingly, the name of H.M.F.S. as a buyer has little meaning
except as noted."


Regarding Dick Johnson's comments on a recent eBay auction, Lee Childs
writes: "I am the "foolish" bidder and winner of the coin or medallion
commemorating the opening of the Cape Cod Canal. Apparently there exist
plenty of other fools in the collecting world because lots of folks bid
on this coin, and after I won it, I've had offers for double what I
paid for it. Actually, I feel sorry for the seller of the coin in 2001
that only got $46 for his -- perhaps it was not marketed correctly at
the time or maybe it's the power of eBay now.

Plus (and I knew this would be a bonus for winning this piece), I've
gotten more than $50,000 worth of publicity for me and my jazz band --
all for a mere $967 (plus shipping). I mean, the phone has been ringing
of the hook with people trying to book the band for various functions,
all because they read about the medal and who it was sold to in the
local newspapers. And your writer called me foolish; yeah right -
all the way to the bank.

And I find it interesting that he mentions that there are 25 silver
coins that you call rare, yet there seem to be perhaps eight, nine,
or ten of the bronze pieces and you only call them scarce - truly an
odd bit of logic. But I will allow this much, Reed and Barton did
supposedly make silver and gold versions of this coin for August
Belmont, but absolutely nobody, at least around these parts, knows
of the existence of even one piece of either metal. Do you know if
one exists or do you think that perhaps they were melted down at
some point in time?

I would foolishly really like to obtain one of these pieces if one
were to ever turn up.  This medal and ones like it have great
sentimental value for me and lots of others here on Cape Cod and
one cannot put a value on that fact. Also, I see that someone paid
1,700 pounds for a 1900 Independent Scottish Football Network medal.
How come he didn't call that transaction foolish?   Sounds plain dumb
to me.  Respectfully and foolishly, Lee Childs (foolish collector
of coins, insulators, bottles, firearms, etc.)"

[I corresponded with Lee and thanked him for his tongue-in-cheek
response.  As an editor I hesitated to allow the word "foolish" in
Dick's article, but he was trying to make a general point rather
than pick on any individual.  Links to Dick's article and the
original E-Sylum piece about the sale follow.

To clarify the question of rarity, Dick noted that 25 examples
were STRUCK in silver.  It is likely that far more were struck
in bronze.  As Dick notes, at least nine bronze examples are known,
but it's unclear if any silver ones are known.  Thus, it is
believed that surviving silver examples are much more rare than
the bronze.  -Editor]

Lee adds: "I would really like to hear from anyone familiar with
these medals as would the Hy-Line Cruise Co. They would like to
make a plaque to display on their canal cruise vessel regarding
the medals and their history.  I can be reached at P.O. Box 807,
Dennis, MA 02638, by phone at 508-362-4289 or email:"

[I put Dick Johnson in touch with Lee and he wrote: "The key words
in my E-Sylum statement were "knowledgeable" and "unknowledgeable."
Had you done some research before bidding -- or asked a specialist
medal dealer - you would have learned the price history of this medal.
It comes on the market every year or so and sells in the $40 to $60
range. Then if you wanted that particular medal so badly, it would
NOT have been "foolish" to bid as high as you wish.

However, the more prudent move would be to let this one pass and
pick up the next one that comes on the market, at, perhaps, less
than $100. Had you contacted me, I think I have one in my leftover
inventory when I retired from being a medal dealer. I wouldn't have
bothered to dig it out for the $100 but if you offered me say $200
it would have been worthwhile digging through ten boxes of old

You must recognize now you must hold that medal for a considerable
length of time before the market rises to the level you paid for it
(if ever). Unless you donate it to a museum, where you can document
the price you paid for it, you will not recover the true value of
that piece (despite your statements you have already received offers
of "double what you paid for it." How many times have I heard that -
but proved to be unsubstantiated? )

Unless you do something with this medal during your lifetime, the
executor of your estate will probably sell it at the market value
at that point in time.

Now I must compliment you and the Hy-Line Cruise Co. for wanting to
build an exhibit around this medal. But a single medal is not that
"showy." My advice is to have a large replica made of the original
medal - yours or mine - of both the obverse and reverse. These metal
replicas are called "galvanos" and when mounted on a wood base make
an exceptional display! Try first to see of Reed & Barton has the
original model. If not it can be enlarged from a medal. If Reed &
Barton cannot do this enlargement, I could recommend a firm that does
this kind of work. Figure on at least a $1,000 cost, and should you
donate this to the cruise ship, hey, you might get another $50,000
worth of publicity!

Question: Is this your first medal among your collections of coins,
insulators, bottles, and firearms? If so, welcome to the field of
medal collecting; you will find it far more interesting than, perhaps,
some of your other collectables."




Dick Johnson writes: "Robert Rightmire is undertaking a very
worthwhile numismatic research project on Guttag Brothers as mentioned
in last week's E-Sylum. The first place to start a research project
on any numismatic personality is Pete Smith's "American Numismatic
Biographies" where Pete lists a half column on Julius Guttag.

(Please, Dennis Tucker, hire Pete to update this work and publish
it at Whitman. This work is so valuable and copies are so difficult
to obtain. I won't mention what I had to plead to Pete to lend me
the last copy he had available. And No, Pete, I won't give it back
- it is too useful in my writing! Send me an invoice for any amount
up to $500 so I can say its all mine!)

Julius Guttag (1884-1962) is noted in numismatics for two things --
coauthoring a book with George Hetrich on "Civil War Tokens and
Tradesmen's Store Cards" and inventing National Coin Week, both
events occurring in 1924 (although one of his tokens stated "Coin
Week Originated 1923"). Commercially he was a money dealer in lower
Manhattan, foreign exchange, bonds and stocks (but only bank stocks).
It was a natural for him to find an interest in coins.

As for Guttag Brothers, I believe Julius was the only principal
interested in numismatics at the firm (is anything known of any
brother?). Julius was active in numismatic organizations as well,
all located in New York City. He was an ANA board member in 1923.

It looks like he was interested in stamps as well. He came to
Medallic Art Company in 1926 and ordered an "International
Philatelic Exhibition Medal" (26-19). It bears portraits of
Lincoln and Washington face-to-face. I suspect he donated these.
He was so satisfied with these that later that same year he ordered
his own firm's storecard. My notes first stated that there were two
kinds. I scratched that out and wrote in "5 kinds." Medallic Art's
documents were sparse on this medal. I reserved the catalog number
26-37, and never finished cataloging these because I was unaware of
the total number of varieties. There is some evidence he reordered
more in 1927.

Guess what - you can enjoy the "thrill of the chase" in finding as
many varieties of Guttag storecards as possible. See how useful
this research can be!

Any way, these Guttag issues were created by Jonahan M. Swanson
(1888-1963). The two men knew each other and undoubtedly traveled
in the same circles and attended the same numismatic events in NYC.
Swanson is noted for his portrait medals of the presidents of the
New York Numismatic Club (he even had to create his own self-portrait
medal in 1925 for his own presidency!).

Julius liked Swanson's design so well he adopted it as the Guttag
Brothers logo. It portrayed a youthful male examining a medal. A
mature nude female holds open a book, and a scholar's lamp above.
"Rare Coins" is in the exergue below. Julius advertised in the back
of The Numismatist up to 1930 and included that logo, often printed
in red - the only color in The Numismatist until decades later!

I sold nine of those Guttag Brothers "tokens" in my medal auctions.
In lot 557 of my 8th auction (Sept 28, 1980) I sold 3 varieties in
one lot. I stated: "Here are the 3 die types; it is known these were
struck in many compositions. Won't some numismatist research and
publish these varieties?" A plea I could repeat today. Joe Levine
has sold at least three in his medal auctions.  Answer my old plea,
Bob Rightmire, but have some fun doing it!"

[I lent a handful of Guttag Coin Bulletin issues to Bob.  He
photocopied these for his research and promptly returned them -
in better shape than when I sent them!  (He put each in a nice
Mylar protective sleeve).  -Editor]


Regarding last week's item about the seizure of Monaco Financial's
artifacts from the Central America at the recent Long Beach coin
show, David L. Ganz of Ganz & Hollinger, P.C writes: "What was behind
the seizure is hard to grasp and relates to a law suit that Monaco
Financial is not even a party to.  That law suit is a dispute
involving a claim by investors in Recovery Limited Partnership
and Columbus Exploration, LLC, which first discovered the wreck
of the S.S. Central America and then figured out how to extricate
the treasure.

Nine individual plaintiffs and International Deep Sea Survey, Inc.,
brought suit earlier this year in Ohio State Court against Recovery
Limited and Columbus Exploration, claiming that despite substantial
recovery and sales efforts, they had been denied access to the
partnership books and an accounting.

The treasure salvors removed the case to the U.S. District Court
in the Southern District of Ohio, a remedy they are allowed to do
because of the nature of the claims under which a maritime contract
was deemed a federal and not a state question.  A series of
ancillary proceedings have taken place in U.S. District Courts
in New York and California, but the granddaddy of them all is
located in the Eastern District of Virginia, where the S.S. Central
America litigation has been ongoing for nearly 20 years.

After finding the Central America, the group brought an "in rem"
proceeding in admiralty seeking to establish ownership of and the
right to salvage the ship and its cargo of gold and other artifacts.

Under salvage law, the original owners still retain their ownership
interests in such property. It competes with the law of finders
which, in contrast, expresses the ancient and honorable principle
of finders, keepers.

Meanwhile, the financial backers claim they received no remuneration
and asked that the Court issue process for attachment and garnishment
in the amount of $11,909,880 "against all goods, chattles, credits...
claimed by, being held for or on behalf of, or being transferred
for the benefit of" the Columbus Group.

This is without an adjudication by a Court of the complaint, because
the same remedy was sought and executed on in a New York Court as
well as the Monaco seizure. Hundreds of documents are on file in
the federal directory, some of which are sealed, others of which,
including the operating agreement of the venture, are claims to
be secret but are now available for viewing.

Monaco, for its part, claims it bought the ingots outright and
that the Columbus group has no financial interest in the gold
ingots which, by weight alone - numismatic value not considered
- has a bullion worth exceeding $3-million.  Stay tuned."


It's not exactly numismatic, but another hoard of gold was in
the news recently.  Dave Perkins writes: "The Denver Post newspaper
had an article last week about three former employees of Cripple
Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co. stealing more than $1.7M in
unprocessed gold over a six-year period.  The trio "are alleged
to have diverted a line carrying gold-saturated fluid and directed
it to their own homemade recovery filter."

"They were making quite a bit of money on the side during their
employment up there," said Larry Martin, an investigator for the
4th Judicial District Attorney's Office. "I've never seen anything
quite like this before, especially on this magnitude of the theft."

"They put it in plastic bags, hauled it out of there, put it in
a truck and shipped it off," Martin said."

"The mining company said it "has intensified its already tight
security" and changed procedures."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[QUICK QUIZ: what connection does the Cripple Creek &
Victor Gold Mining company have to numismatics?  -Editor]


Dave Lange writes: "I'm looking to buy or borrow the March 1969
issue of Coinage Magazine - it features a biographical article
about R. S. Yeoman. I'm hoping that one of the readers may have
this issue available, unbound. My email address is"


Dick Johnson writes: "Earlier this year I wrote in The E-Sylum
of my saga obtaining the equipment to do numismatic oral histories
(vol 9, no 5, article 5). I have now done a number of these,
primarily with private mint officials and engravers. I have learned
some tips I would like to pass along and encourage other numismatic
researchers to do research by phone. You might still want to make
a trip to dig in archives and old records, but try to do as much
by phone with live people before hand.

I learned oral history is very much like what a reporter does in
interviewing for a news story. You ask questions and you get answers.
Memories of my brief time as first editor of Coin World come flooding
back to my mind. But most reporters jot down brief statements,
phrases or words to remind themselves what was said. Then they must
immediately write the article from these abbreviated mental joggers
while the statements are still fresh in their minds.

Oral history recordings give you exact quotations and the luxury of
going back again and again to precisely what was said. It even gives
you insight in HOW it was said which you can't get from notes. You
can do your writing much later when a need arises or you have
additional information you can intersperse with what was recorded.

Here are some tips I have learned first hand:

(1) Do your homework. Have a list of questions on hand before you
call your interviewee. Those deadly pauses while you think of
another question breaks the rhythm of the interview.

(2) Plan for the interview length no longer than an hour. Fatigue
sets in rapidly for both parties after that length of time.

(3) Dictate a statement as soon as you turn on the recorder. Give
date, name of the interviewee and subject right up front.

(4) Omit your own comments (my cardinal error). You can, if you
must, impress your interviewee with how you phrase your questions,
that you are knowledgeable about the subject. You can do this by
using the jargon of the field in your questions. The interviewee
will pick up on this.

(5) Jump in immediately when a word or name comes up that you do
not understand. Ask for it to be repeated, or spelled out. (But
don't do this so often it breaks the speaker's train of thought.
You can make a list of these and question at the end of the

(6) Afterwards label those tapes as soon as possible. Nothing
is worse than a stack of tape cassettes with unknown contents.

(7) Transcribe at leisure. For me it takes 40 hours to transcribe
an hour of tape. I know. I am slow. (That $3,000 computer hardware
and software that immediately puts the text on your computer screen
and records it as each party speaks seems more desirable all the

Finally, (8) Make dup tapes and store offsite or send to the
interviewee. Perhaps as several researchers build a library of
these tapes one of the major numismatic libraries will want to
become a repository of all numismatic oral histories. Convince
me how you will catalog or make a finding aid of these, conserve,
shelve these and such.

The best interview I did was with Ron Landis of the Gallery Mint.
We did it in two takes and there was so much "meat" I have already
written two articles from that interview and there is still unused
material there.

Oh, one more tip. Use land lines, cell phones are not good --
unreliable and a chore to hold to your ear for an hour."



E-Sylum reader Bob Leuver (former ANA Executive Director and
Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing) writes: "Here's
a little background on the recovery by BEP of mutilated currency.

The office at the BEP responsible for this is the Office of
Currency Standards, or, at least that was the title.

"Currency Standards" is a correct title as the office is primarily
responsible for the regulations governing the destruction of
currency.  This is a Department of Treasury function, not one of
the Federal Reserve, which many might find interesting.

For many years, up until perhaps 1984, the function was in
Government Financial Operations (GFO).  The new director of GFO,
a really fine and competent gentleman recently appointed to that
position by the Secretary from IRS, analyzed his organization and
felt that the Office of Currency Standards was not a proper fit
for his organization.  In a meeting of the eleven Treasury Bureau
directors, the director of GFO mentioned his problem.  I said I
would take the function.  After all it was currency for which
regulations were written and mutilated currency redeemed.  The
latter, highly visible function was probably the function that
did not fit into GFO.

Besides, I had met the chief of that office, Rudy Villareal, who
had held the position for many years.  Rudy was a likable, easy
going and responsible person and very competent manager.  The
people at the Fed liked him also.  Most of the regulations
affected the Fed.

Paul Frey succeeded Rudy upon his retirement in 1987.  I think
Paul recently retired.  Paul had been head auditor for the U.S.
Mint and then chief of public affairs at the BEP.

The staff of Currency Standards works on mutilated currency.
The women and men who perform the work are very diligent,
unflappable and discerning when recovering mutilated currency.
It takes a lot of patience to peel thumbnail pieces of currency
from a stack and "scotch" tape them to an 11" by 8" sheet of paper.

Most professionals in the office attempt to sort mutilated currency
by serial numbers or denomination numbers.  One small piece easily
can represent the entire note.  This saves a lot of time and the
dollar value can be quickly tallied.

I visited this office once every quarter at least--as was my practice
for all offices and regions in the 29 acres of floor space at the BEP.
That tour was something I had learned in 1982 from Anthony Murray
(Adm. USN ret.), superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint.

On one such visit to Currency Standards, a female worker, whose name
escapes me, was just starting to work on a stack of currency that
was estimated to be $5,000 by the individual submitting it.  The worker
was pasting the bits of currency on 11" by 8" sheets of paper - a
monumental task.

Three months later I came back to that office and while walking around,
I approached the worker and asked.  "How much money did you recover
from that soggy stack of currency you were working on three months ago?"

The woman knew I was coming and she was prepared for the question.
She looked up, smiled and triumphantly said, "95% of the value!"  I
replied that I did not anticipate that such was possible.  There are
so many stories about the BEP redemption of currency."


Garry Saint writes: "I'd like to respond to your article (E-Sylum:
Volume 9, Number 22, May 28, 2006, Article 13) WILL POLYMER NOTES

I publish a website, previously called "WORLD PAPER MONEY PICTURE

Just prior to reading your article I added a section on WOODEN BILLS
and it occurred to me that with the advent of polymer notes and the
fact that there have been fabric notes, cardboard notes, etc. the
title of my site is inadequate. I thought of changing it to "WORLD
MONEY PICTURES CATALOG" but that implies all money, not specifically
banknotes which is 99% of my site.

So I changed my site name to WORLD "PAPER" MONEY PICTURE CATALOG.
What do you think of that as a solution to the problem?"

[The following week Howard A. Daniel III offered this suggestion:
"The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (SCWPM) has mostly
"paper" pieces in it but there are also other products like
leather, cardboard, etc.  The idea to re-title it as the Standard
Catalog of World Printed Money (SCWPM) is not a bad idea and more
closely identifies ALL of the pieces in the three volumes produced
by Krause Publications. "

PICTURE CATALOG as options.  -Editor]

Garry writes: "I have considered WORLD BANKNOTE PICTURE CATALOG
previously and didn't think it quite fit because I am trying to
place an emphasis on LOCAL CURRENCIES which are not issued by banks.
My primary site name is NUMISMONDO which really covers it (world
numismatics) and the rest of the name is a kind of tag line. So
I'll see how this name question progresses and then make a decision."

[Any other suggestions, readers? Be sure to visit Garry's site:


Dick Johnson writes: "Canada is looking for a name for their new
$2 coin with a polar bear on the reverse.

They call their dollar coin a "loonie" for the loon bird portrayed.
That was an excellent example of onomatopoeia, a figure of speech.
(Boy, did I have to look up that word!)

Shifting figures of speech their new $2 coin introduced ten years
ago is called a "toonie."  That figure of speech is assonance, the
repetition of vowel sounds.

Can any of our Canadian readers tell me what they are calling their
$5 coin? In E-Sylum (vol 9, no 35, article 14) I suggested a "foonie"
for five plus the continuation of the vowel sounds.

Their new polar bear is a $2 "toonie" but to name the bear "boonie,"
doesn't seem appropriate. Why not add a little Eskimoish and name
it a "boonik."


Last week Tony Swicer wrote about people in the West Palm Beach
area attempting to spend Liberty Dollars at face value when their
bullion value was much less.  Tom DeLorey writes: "I agree with Tony.
When silver was around $7, I had one of their advocates come into our
coin shop and try to spend a one ounce $10 for $10. He wouldn't take
no for an answer, until I took out some blank pieces of paper and wrote
"$1" on each of them and told the guy that I'd take his $10 if he'd
take my $1's in change."


Kavan Ratnatunga, writing from Sri Lanka (where the minimum fare
for the bus or train is still a nickel (Rs5) writes:

"On average 10 billion Cents are minted each year. About 300 billion
over say the last 30 years considered the lifetime of a coin. This
is about a 1,000 or US$10 worth of cent coins for every US Citizen.
Making the "penny" worth 10 cents will cost about US$27 Billion and
give each family of four a rebate of say $360. This is on the order
of the $600 granted a few years ago as a tax rebate - unlikely in
the current economy.

Rounding off any to nearest nickel is unbiased.

    If just the penny      rounded down   1-2 = 0
                           rounded up     3-4 = 5

    Rounding to multiples of 10 cents is biased unless an
    odd-even rule is adopted for 5 i.e.
                           rounded down   1-4 = 0
                           rounded up     6-9 = 10
          and 5 is rounded up or down to make multiple of 20

Americans who will be confused about nearest nickel will
be far more confused about nearest dime."


Dick Johnson writes: "The Washington Post has weighed in on
abolishing the cent problem. It assigned the story to writer
Sebastian Mallaby. His report was published September 25, 2006,
titled "The Penny Stops Here."

He reported several interesting statistics. A study on the estimated
time handling just pennies at each cash transaction is 2 to 2.5
seconds. This should save the average customer 730 seconds a year,
or about a $3.65 annual saving.

He also puts to rest the argument that rounding off -- up or down --
would lose shoppers serious money. A Wake Forest University study
of 200,000 transactions stated the difference would be four cents
in a citizen's purchases over a year.

It really gets serious when he employs the Sharpe Ratio, named
after Nobel Prize winner, William Sharpe. This measures risk divided
by the size of the risk. Abolishing the cent is a Sharpe Risk Ratio
of 13.5. Read the article to see what THAT means. He also reports
on the Sharpe Ratio for nickels, but it drops to 1.2 for abolishing
dimes. Hardly worth the effort!"

To read the Washington Post article, see: Full Story


In a blog posting September 29, ancient coin expert and author Wayne
Sayles spoke against the U.S. Department of State's position regarding
the importation of ancient artifacts, including coins.  Sayles believes
the Department's position imperils educational programs revolving
around ancient coins.  Sayles cites the non-profit support group
Ancient Coins for Education (ACE) and others:

"The involvement of collector organizations in education, particularly
in youth programs, is not a new development. The American Numismatic
Association (ANA) sponsors a "Coins in the Classroom" program that
is geared toward exposing teachers to the educational value of coins.
The ANA also hosts a Roman Coin project that encourages and rewards
young collectors and holds a series of summer seminars each year at
its Colorado Springs headquarters that is open to young and old alike.
The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), a non-profit advocacy group
for the hobby, supports both the ACE and the ANA programs, as well
as initiatives of its own, through its Education and Youth Programs
Task Force. The combined membership of these organizations includes
almost 50,000 coin collectors.

In stark contrast to this altruistic effort, the U.S. State Department
has taken a stance that threatens the very existence of these programs.
With passage of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act
in 1983, the department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
(ECA) became the central decision making point for matters falling
under the purview of a 1970 UNESCO convention. One of the provisions
of that act is a process by which the State Department can recommend,
and the President can impose, emergency import restrictions on objects
defined as cultural property. In reality, the UNESCO convention's
description of cultural property is so broad that it encompasses
virtually anything manufactured by human beings more than 100 years ago."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


David Gladfelter writes: "A window of opportunity exists, while the
Ford Nova Constellatio (Constellatio Nova?) pattern set remains intact,
to create accurate and authentic reproductions of this set, the way
museums do of famous sculptures. To me it's particularly important
that this be done because the patterns are unique and historic, and
if lost, stolen or destroyed (as has already happened to the Templeton
Reid California $25.00 piece), no metallic example would remain.

The technology exists to produce such repros. Robert Bashlow and the
firm of Aug. C. Frank Co. used it to produce copies of the Confederate
cent and half dollar, which are popularly collected today.

If the idea has merit, then one needs to consider under whose auspices
it will be undertaken, the number of sets to be made, and how they will
be distributed. I would personally favor a museum such as the Smithsonian
or ANS undertaking this project, with a large mintage because of the
historic importance of the patterns. If there is concern about the
repros being offered as the genuine, they could be issued "one-sided"
with a suitable design on the other side, as was done with Bashlow's
half dollar restrikes; thus, a complete set would consist of 10 pieces,
five obverse coins and five reverse. Another control could be issuance
of the repros in different metals such as brass.

Please let me know your thoughts. Understand, I am just floating an
idea, I'm not interested in actually undertaking any restriking myself."

[Cheapo repros of some of these pieces do exist, but I would agree
that there could be a market and purpose for quality reproductions.
I wouldn't undertake such a project either, but would encourage and
support it.  Dave's point about the Templeton Reid $25 meshes well
with Alan Leudeking's comments in the last E-Sylum about counterfeits
sometimes being the only records of the existence of a coin.  This
holds for collector reproductions as well.   The E-Sylum has inspired
numismatic projects before, so it's possible someone might take up
the cause.  Thoughts, readers?  -Editor]


An article in the Turkish Daily News notes that "Silver coins
unearthed in the ancient city of Iasos, located in Mugla's Milas
district, are being featured in the semiannual Italian state
periodical Bollettino Di Numismatica (Bulletin of Numismatics).

The coins are currently on temporary display at the Izmir
Archaeology Museum.

"... the silver coins were unearthed by Franca Palazzini in 1969
in Iasos and that Italian archaeologists are conducting excavations
at the site under the auspices of the Culture and Tourism Ministry,
Berti said: "The findings should be put on permanent display instead
of being hidden away in the museum's storerooms. We are ready to do
our best to achieve this goal."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Garry Saint writes: "There is another topic I would be interested
in hearing the opinions of your readers. A few weeks ago I received
a disturbing email from an individual who had visited two of my
website sections,  Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh. He then said the
following, "Garry, You have a great website but having on display
monetary units of the terrorist and separatist territorial entities
like Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh is actually a support of terrorism.
Your website has been mentioned by the separatists on numerous
occasions as a recognizable world authority (which is not
politically correct) and they use it to justify the fact of
their occupation...."

I have responded to this person and told him I will study his
request and make a decision about whether to change my site. I
also asked him to provide reference information so I can be better
informed about this situation. He has sent me a number of reference
links which I am reviewing. I have since determined that neither
entity is on the USA State Department Terrorist list. However, from
the links he provided I have learned that more than 500 civilians
were killed in the Abkhazia-Azerbaijan war by the people the writer
called terrorists. The fighting has now stopped but I gather it is
far from settled politically.

In an effort to dispel the notion that my site is any way official
I have added a disclaimer to each section in question and will also
add it to my "Fine Print" page as well. I also received this
wonderful suggested response from a collector-friend who is a
former USA diplomat:

"Thank you for your concerned email(s), which I have carefully
considered.  However, after considering the issues involved, I
have decided NOT to delete references on my Numismondo web site
of Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh for the following reasons:

My site is not politically motivated and has no political
ambitions or connections.

My site is dedicated to eventually listing EVERY banknote ever
issued in the world.  This includes countries, regions, political
entities, occupational issues, private entities and wishful
fantasy printings.  The issues you have mentioned from Abkhazia
and Nagorno-Karabakh may be fantasy or regional issues -- but
they exist -- and should be listed.

My site also lists similar banknotes from other countries.  In it,
you will find listed Confederate banknotes from what is now the
United States, Boer notes from South Africa, siege notes from
Khartoum, as well as more recent material, such as notes used in
Katanga, a breakaway province of Nigeria.

The site also carries the notes issued by the Khmer Rouge and
Viet Cong. Despite United States' embargoes on products from Iran
and Cuba, we list their banknotes.  Greece is not particularly
fond of the country to its north calling itself Macedonia, but
it issued banknotes under that name and we list them by that name.

Further, my site makes no pretence to being official.  The listing
or not listing of an issue is MY choice.  Listing in no way
confers official status on any content in my site.  I also reject
the idea that my listing of a banknote, official or fantasy,
supports terrorism or even encourages others to acquire these
banknotes.  They exist, therefore, they get listed.

If you want to submit one or two paragraphs of descriptive narration
regarding the Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh issues and their status,
I would be happy to consider appending your comments to the pages
listing them.  For me to do this, however, I would need factual
information, without emotional opinion."

I am still considering how to handle this and similar situations
and would welcome ideas from collectors or other interested parties."

[Mixing numismatic and politics invariably ends up in a mess,
which is why I prefer to keep politics out of The E-Sylum.  But
this is a good general question that repeatedly pops up in various
contexts, such as the French ban on the sale of any Nazi-related
items, the debate on the use of the Confederate flag, etc.  I know
subscriber Kavan Ratnatunga has had some similar concerns about
his inclusion of Tamil tiger coins on his Sri Lankan coinage web
site.  But I agree with Garry's diplomat friend - these items exist,
therefore they should be acknowledged, catalogued, collected,
displayed and allowed to be bought and sold like any other
historical artifact, albeit with a knowledge of the deserved
delicate sensibilities of groups of people who oppose what the
artifacts represent.  -Editor]


Regarding the item on re-enacting George Washington's dollar toss,
Neil Shafer writes: "Just a quick comment on throwing money across
a river.  Washington could possibly have done it way back when, but
it would not be possible now ... because in those days a dollar
went further!"


This may cause some spam filters to burp, but it's too good not
to include.  The following is from the press release for the
Smythe & Company Fall currency auction:

"Following the obsoletes is a group of advertising notes, of
which Herb and Martha Schingoethe gathered perhaps the largest
collection in the world. Some of the extreme rarities offered
include an 1866 T. Hurle $1000 note from New Haven, Connecticut,
incorporating a photographic rendering of an Original Series
Fourth National Bank of the City of New York note; an extremely
interesting and unusual $50 Chicago advertising note with an 1864
Confederate front for a device purported to provide, in today's
terminology "natural male enhancement;"

[The note is not listed in Robert Vlack's 2001 book, "An
Illustrated catalogue of Early North American Advertising Notes."
The upcoming Smythe sale catalog is not yet on their web site,
but I'm curious to see a picture of the note. -Editor]


This week's featured web page is the Wookey Hole Mill Watermark
Collection of Confederate States of America notes on Pierre
Fricke's web site.

"The Hodgkinson & Co. Wookey Hole Mill watermark CSA notes are some
of the rarest and interesting notes in the series. To actually see
a complete collection of the "collectible" varieties of this watermark
is a unique experience. There was one watermark per sheet of 8 notes
making this watermark even rarer. Only a small number of reams was
imported of which some were used for Virginia State currency. All of
these notes are Rarity 9+ or better, meaning that there are less than
25 known of each. In most cases, there are less than 10 known of many
of these notes making them true rarities in CSA currency.

This mill exists today and is in Britain about two miles from the
town of Wells in Somerset."

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.   For more information please see our web site at There is a membership application available on the web site.  To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

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